Cannabis bill quashed by vote in House

A newly-proposed cannabis bill has been quashed as the Thai House of Representatives voted on its withdrawal. The bill was shot down after a 198 to 136 vote in the House. Lawmakers say the bill needs to be revised as its wording was regarded as “loose and could potentially expose youth to health risks.”

The bad news is that if the bill is withdrawn, there may not be enough time to push it through the current Parliament’s session as it expires in March of 2023. Chada Thaiset, an MP for the Bhumjaithai Party (which sponsored the legislation), opposes the bill’s withdrawal. But, the Democratic Party has remained steadfast in its support to have cannabis also reinstated to the narcotics list. The Democratic Party allegedly has also threatened to vote against the bill if the House, indeed, proceeded with it. Some MPs have expressed grave concerns over cannabis being removed from the narcotics list, citing multiple reports of cannabis users becoming violent and mentally ill.

The Democratic Party says loopholes such as allowing the general public to register to grow cannabis plants can lead to recreational use, with a negative impact on society. One Democratic MP for Krabi, says she found drug use in her constituency to be rampant. But, she also noted that these specific cases did not directly involve cannabis use.

Another Cannabis and Hemp Bill has been reportedly vetted by a House committee and is about to be forwarded to the House for consideration in the second reading. Bhumjaithai party spokesman Paradorn Prisnananthakul responded to concerns that the bill would make cannabis too freely available, saying that the bill’s wording addressed the safety of cannabis use.

“The bill being deliberated is intended to provide clear guidelines for the use of cannabis. If this legislation were dropped, there would be a vacuum regarding the use of cannabis.”

Since being decriminalised in June, the spokesperson for the House committee says current data shows a downward trend for cannabis-related patients in hospitals. He suggests that this is due to awareness campaigns that have educated people and kept the substance under control.

He acknowledged that the cannabis rollout has been flawed, but that there are more safety measures in place than when kratom was legalised last year.

Cannabis has been brought into the mainstream since its legalisation, with hundreds of small businesses popping up and thousands of established businesses incorporating cannabis and hemp-based products. Yesterday, the Central Pattaya shopping centre hosted a cannabis festival that was promoted by the mayor. In November, another large cannabis fair is planned at the Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.